Tuesday, December 29, 2009

From A Bears Fan In Brooklyn

I watched last night's Bears-Vikings game at a local sports bar here in Brooklyn, thinking some of my fellow Chicago fans would be there, but as it turned out I was alone in rooting for the men in dark blue. And there's something about being the only person in a bar rooting for a team that brings out the primal urge in others to disparage the outsider, like I was an A.V. club nerd trying to sit at the cool kids table. A primal urge to be That Guy, the one who instead of cheering one team prefers to disparage the other.

The prime offender of That Guy-ism last night was Puffy Coat, a guy in a puffy winter coat and a Yankees cap. Yes, I said "Yankees cap." I don't know why he was rooting for the Vikings, but he came in during halftime, saw my Bears jersey, looked at the score to see that Chicago was up 16-0 and yelled at me "The Bears ain't gonna win, YOU CAN'T KEEP FAVRE DOWN!"

Thanks for that. Who knew a guy from Louisiana and who played most of his career in the upper Midwest had such a passionate following in the 5 boroughs?

The Vikings get the ball to open the half and march down the field. Puffy Coat gets in my face and yells "see!? BRETT FAVRE!" as if my Bears jersey actually said "Brett Favre sucks." I looked down to check. Nope, it's just a Bears jersey.

"Yeah, he's a great quarterback," I said. The Bears have had to play against #4 twice a season for as long as I can remember. I know he's good and I've never said otherwise, I just want my team to win is all. I'm kind of a silly fan that way.

The Bears are flagged for pass interference in the endzone to set the Vikings up at the goal line.


I didn't respond as I assumed the question rhetorical.

Adrian Petersen runs the ball in for a Vikings touchdown.

"THERE YOU GO! A.P.!! YOU CAN'T STOP HIM" he yells as he walks over to me.

"Why are you yelling at me?" I asked.

"I ain't yelling at you!" he said loudly about a foot from my face. "It's sports, you know, you come to a bar, have a drink, represent for your team and you gotta talk a little trash."

"Why do we have to talk trash?" I asked. As we discussed the merits of talking trash we missed the missed extra point. A vital part of the game as it would turn out.

On the ensuing kickoff the Bears manage a great return and are able to score. I was happy. I jumped out of my seat. But I didn't yell. I was the only Chicago fan and there was no one to yell to. Except for Puffy Coat, but he had conveniently gone to the bathroom.

The Vikings get the ball and begin to march down the field and Puffy Coat returns.


"He's good," I admit.

"That's why the Bears ain't gonna win!"

"Look, in the first half when the Bears were doing well I wasn't being an a-hole about it," I said.

"Hey, it's nothing personal. You know, it's your team, it's my team. It ain't about you." He seemed genuinely hurt that I didn't enjoy his antics. And it's not like I really thought his behavior was personal, it was just incredibly annoying. I didn't think Puffy Coat had it in for me, but that didn't change the fact that there was a dude yelling at me every few minutes.

By now Brett Favre mania is sweeping through the bar, and the once indifferent bargoers are all starting to cheer the Vikings comeback. The Vikings score on a throw to Visanthe Shiancoe and there are cheers from everyone in the joint except me. I'm living a nightmare. I don't mind the three Minnesota fans at the bar--they've been rooting for the Vikings since the beginning--I just can't take the bandwagoneers piling on.

The Vikings tie it up at 23 and I think the game is just about over for the Bears, but they have another great kickoff return and score quickly. Too quickly, I know from experience watching #4 in these situations. He has 4+ minutes and all of his timeouts. He's going to score.

But something's missing. Where's Puffy Coat? Why isn't he in my face every second? I think that he might have finally realized that I'm not the trash talking type, but the truth is he's been distracted by two single women at the bar, and being that libido always trumps bravado, he's been working his game on them rather than torturing me.

The Vikings score. It's 30-30 and we're going to overtime.

Puffy Coat walks down the bar toward me and I steel myself for a gut-wrenching overtime full of pain and suffering and taunts from Brett Favre's biggest fan in Brooklyn. He stops in front of me, then throws his hand up for a handshake/man-hug good-bye.

"You're not staying for overtime?" I ask, surprised that such a ardent supporter would leave during the tensest part of the game."

"Nah, I can't do overtime," he said. "You know it's all good."

I said that it was, indeed, all good.

It was probably better that he wasn't there to see the Bears win the toss and quickly get into range for a winning field goal, or there to see Robbie Gould miss said field goal. Or to see BRETT FAVRE get sacked on consecutive plays on the next drive, Or to see the Bears go nowhere after getting the ensuing punt.

And it was definitely better that he wasn't there to see Adrian Peterson fumble, the Bears recover and score a touchdown on the following play, because if he had, all of my pent up frustration from the trash talking might have exploded with me screaming "BRETT FAVRE!!! YOU CAN'T WIN THE GAME WHEN YOU'RE ON THE SIDELINES, MOTHER SCRATCHER!!"

Because that would have been bad. I would have let anger and hatred lead me to the Dark Side. I would have been That Guy.

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